08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
Basketball Champions League Power Rankings: Volume 10
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Basketball Champions League Power Rankings: Volume 10

MIES (Switzerland) - Basketball Champions League is back, which also means that our Power Rankings are here to stay, too. The format remains the same as last season, domestic results are taken into account, because you can't view this as an isolated competition, but as part of what a basketball team is going through all season long, in all competitions, all the time.


VEF Riga's perfect domestic season no longer exists. Latvian champs lost by a single point to the hands of Kalev/Cramo in the Latvian-Estonian League, and since they are five wins behind Peristeri with four games to go, they will not see Play-Offs in the Basketball Champions League this season.


Gaziantep finally ended their seven game losing streak with a win in Turkey over the weekend, and they could even start their own winning streak because VEF Riga are in town this week. But it only gets tougher after that, just look at the schedule: Tenerife, Fenerbahce, Nizhny Novgorod to end January...


They aren't officially out of the Play-Offs yet, but Polski Cukier Torun are three games behind Oostende with four Gamedays to go. Even if they win all four, they would finish at 6-8, and only one team made it through to the next round with that record - their compatriots, Stelmet Enea Zielona Gora.


Get this, Mornar Bar are Top 5 in three-pointers made! They made 100 of them in 10 games, and a comfy win last week keeps them in contention...but they will need about ten thousand different things going their way to make it through to the Play-Offs.


SIG Strasbourg lost six straight games in all competitions. Last time that happened to them? Back in 2008, when they had finished the season with defeats to Hyeres-Toulon, Orleans, Le Havre, Le Mans and ASVEL, and started the next one with an L against Orleans. Last time they lost six straight in a single season? October to November 2003. Yes, that's 16 years ago.


Justin Dentmon is still the leading scorer, scoring 23.0 points every week, but it's not the offense that will kill EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez's hopes of success here. It'll be defense, because allowing 116.9 points per 100 possessions is just a horrifying number.
(It's 22 points more than Tenerife and Nymburk allow over the same amount of possessions.)


Let's not talk about -38 against Lietkabelis, okay? It could happen to anyone. Including Neptunas Klaipeda.


Happy Casa Brindisi lost at home last week, which was a Basketball Champions League first. If they can get their record back to .500 or better, we should start talking about Tyler Stone for MVP, because 17.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game are numbers you should mention in any kind of MVP discussion.


Four straight wins for Telenet Giants Antwerp, including the big one over AEK, holding one of the best offensive teams in all of Europe to just 61 points. The trouble is that they could be out by the end of Gameday 11...


It was such a Besiktas Sompo Sigorta thing to do, to come up with a win over heavily favored Telekom Baskets Bonn last week. Every time you feel like Besiktas are on the verge of imploding, they pull themselves together and start playing like the best black-and-white team out there. Play-Offs without BJK would be something new in the BCL.


UNET Holon snapped their four-game losing streak in the Basketball Champions League with a win over Torun last week. They are 3-1 in 2020 in the BCL and the Israeli League, with the only defeat coming to the hands of Maccabi Tel Aviv, no shame in that. They play host to Strasbourg this week, a chance to complete the sweep over the French juggernauts!


Here's an idea. If you have to bring in players during the season, make sure you get guys that can a) block shots in the final minute, away from home, and b) stab the dagger from beyond the arc in the closing seconds. PAOK did just that to Neptunas, with Shannon Shorter blocking down and Bobby Brown knocking down a triple to seal the deal and make PAOK a completely different animal. 


Okay, Teksut Bandirma are still alive in the Basketball Champions League. However, 1-4 over their last five games in the Turkish League make us wonder if they have it in them to reach the Play-Offs both here and domestically. Okay, chance to prove us wrong, starting with two massive games against AEK and Vechta in the next eight days!


You shouldn't judge Lietkabelis based on their 92-83 defeat to the hands of Turk Telekom. You should judge them by their +11 win over Zalgiris and +38 win over Neptunas. They are a really good team, and don't be surprised if they make it out of the crowded Group A.


Six straight defeats for Telekom Baskets Bonn, while allowing 90, 80, 85, 100, 102 and 80 points in that span. Maybe their fortunes change now that Eugene Lawrence is back in his favorite jersey, but Bonn are running out of time to make a run in Germany, and wasted a beautiful opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the rest of Group D last week.


Losing at home is a big no-no in this league. Falco Szombathely had no answer for Nico Brussino late in the game against Zaragoza, so instead of winning that one and becoming a legit Top 10 team, the Hungarian champs are now forced to watch the rear-view mirror because Besiktas, PAOK, Neptunas and Brinidisi are just a win behind in the battle for 4th!


Feels like Anwil Wloclawek blew a fine chance to make a statement, allowing Ousmane Drame to pull down 17 rebounds for Pau last week. But still, 7-1 over the last eight games in all competitions, Polish champs are headed in the right direction. And that's towards the Play-Offs, of course.


Nobody shoots the three-pointers like these guys. Rasta Vechta are up to 124 made triples in the Basketball Champions League, 19 more than any other team, and they are on pace to become the first team with 200 three-pointers made in one BCL season. And you know we had some hot-shooting teams here...


Brose Bamberg stayed in the hunt for the Play-Offs here, but will not retain their German Cup title, since they lost to Alba Berlin in the Semi-Finals this time around. That's okay. Allows them to focus on this one, to find a way around Peristeri and/or Nizhny Novgorod in the group standings. Peristeri v Bamberg could be huge in two weeks' time.


The Belgian champs are the clear winners of the last week in Group A. Not only did they hand Dinamo Sassari a rare defeat, but all their surrounding teams suffered defeats, sending Filou Oostende to 5-5 in sole possession of the fourth spot in the group, the last one leading to the Play-Offs. They aren't your typical modern basketball team, they made only 58 three-pointers this season - James Feldeine has 32 by himself, just for the sake of comparison.


It wasn't a fun day at the office for Peristeri winmasters last time around, as Iberostar Tenerife held them to 54 points in Greece. But maybe Peristeri gain some confidence after a 10-point win over Rethymno in the Greek League - they will need all the confidence in the world as they are up against Nizhny Novgorod in Russia this week.


Nizhny Novgorod are 0-2 since we labeled them the best Nizhny ever. We've jinxed you. Sorry.


Win some, lose some - that's been Turk Telekom's season so far. They are still in the hunt for the first spot in their group, but a 22-point defeat to Galatasaray puts their Play-Off ambitions in Turkey in danger. R.J. Hunter has been superb, he ranks second in three-pointers made, trailing only that man James Feldeine.


As Thad McFadden pointed out: "If the season ended today, (San Pablo Burgos) would be in both Spanish League and Basketball Champions League Play-Offs." Don't underestimate this team. Ever.


Let's talk about Tryggvi Hlinason, okay? Because Casademont Zaragoza's big guy plays just 14.3 minutes per game, and yet he averages 1.9 blocks! That means he'd have 5.3 blocks per 40 minutes, so yes, it's easy to understand why they love him over there. I mean, they love Tryggvi everywhere, don't they? Who wouldn't love a guy who used to spend his days "herding sheep, gathering hay, driving snowmobiles!?"


Here's the thing. Dinamo Sassari are 9-1 over the last ten games in the Basketball Champions League and the Italian League. However, they lost a game to a team not named Manresa or Turk Telekom, which could turn out to be a troubling thing, since those three teams are so close together at the top of the group. An ill-timed defeat could send them to third seed ahead of the Play-Offs, meaning no home-court advantage.


Howard Sant-Roos is gone. He wrote a really nice letter to AEK fans, too. Now the question is how do you make up for everything that he did on the court!? How do you stay as strong when the man poised to become the next MVP of the Basketball Champions League is no longer available? AEK should be fine to make the Play-Offs, but they aren't a lock for the Final Four, like they were with the Cuban legend in the mix.


Teams at 5-0 over the last five games in the Spanish League: Bilbao, BAXI Manresa... That's it! BAXI Manresa finally hit that Ctrl+C command on their Basketball Champions League campaign and Ctrl+V to their domestic championship, climbing the standings and looking like a Play-Offs team in both competitions. Nobody passes the ball around like Manresa in the Basketball Champions League, three of their four field goals come after an assist - that's outstanding. It really is.


ERA Nymburk are a perfectly assembled machine this season. Second best defensive team of the entire competition, dominating the rebounding numbers, with Zach Hankins leading the league in blocks per game. Oh, and they are up to 20-0 in Czech League, which is also cool.


Seven straight! JDA Dijon are on a mission to make this season the best one ever for the club, as they are challenging for the top of the French League while also flirting with European success. And get this. They are doing it while having the worst rebounding numbers of the 32 - Dijon pick up just 45.7 percent of all available rebounds, meaning they can improve even more! They do make up for the lack of rebounding with some extra aggressive defense, stealing the ball on 15.0 percent of their opponents possessions, the best mark in the League.


Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem own the league leading offensive rating of 119.4 points per 100 possessions, which is a nerdy way of saying James Feldeine, J'Covan Brown, TaShawn Thomas, Suleiman Braimoh and all the other guys can score. In bunches. Coach Oded Kattache created a deadly system over there, make sure you check them out if you prefer offense over defense.


Then again, if you belong to the old "offense wins games, defense wins championships" kind of school, Iberostar Tenerife are your club. Txus Vidorreta's boys allow 94.3 points per 100 possessions, they are 6-1 in last seven games in the Spanish League and the Basketball Champions League, and Marcelinho Huertas feat. Giorgi Shermadini make the best duet since Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.

*The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic is Basketball Champions League's writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Live Blog coverage of the games and sorting out the teams on Mondays, in the Power Rankings. When he's not watching basketball, he's commentating Croatian Second Division soccer games for TV.